Samoa tuna company launches super frozen tuna
Samoa Tuna Processors, a division of Tri Marine in Bellevue, Wash., is realizing significant demand — particularly in Japan — for its new “super-frozen” tuna (SFT) line.
“Japan is by far the world’s biggest market for tuna, with an overall value over six times larger than the U.S. market,” Antonio Orsini, director of fresh and frozen for Tri Marine, told SeafoodSource. In Japan…super frozen accounts for about 80 percent of the local sashimi tuna consumption.”
America Samoa’s new SFT is frozen utilizing a revolutionary technology developed in Japan a few decades ago, which virtually erases the time gap between catch and consumption.
“From the moment it is brought onboard the fishing vessel and blast frozen at -60°C (-76°F), to the time it is brought back to chilled temperature the quality and the organoleptic characteristics of the fish remain intact, like the moment it was caught,” Orsini said. “I believe that super-frozen is the safest tuna you can possibly eat, because freezing at ultra-low temperatures erases bacterial action, kills any parasites and eliminates the risk of histamine growth.”
Samoa Tuna began processing SFT this month, utilizing its newly-built fresh and frozen processing facility in America Samoa.
The Tuna Store LLC, part of Tri Marine, is the exclusive distributor for the line, which is going to both restaurants and supermarkets. “We have designed our super-frozen line to deliver consistent high quality, availability and pricing stability. While maximizing food safety…we believe these are very important deliverables for restaurants and supermarkets.”
In the U.S., Tri Marine recently installed its first thawing facility, which will allow the company to thaw and distribute the SFT through common fresh distribution channels.
While Tri Marine is realizing the most demand for the super frozen tuna line in Japan, executives believe that demand from Europe, the U.S. and other countries will grow. “In Europe, the demand has been growing very fast. Today, 50 percent of all chilled tuna sold in the UK retail market is super-frozen,” Orsini said. “The tuna market in the United States is very peculiar, since this is one of the very few countries in the world where carbon monoxide or clear smoke treatment is allowed.”
Samoa Tuna also recently started producing albacore tuna and yellowfin tuna loins and steaks, and plans to launch Wahoo, mahi and opah portions over the next few months.